Catholic bishops in Congo have abandoned attempts to arrange a government-opposition power-sharing agreement, amid rising violence.
Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa of Kisangani, the bishops’ conference president, said the latest round of political negotiations were not satisfying the Congolese people. He said bishops had continued working with both sides until 27th March, but that all parties were pulling back from a consensus on issues previously agreed upon.
“This lack of sincere political will did not allow for an agreement,” the archbishop said at a news conference on 28th March.
“We are therefore bringing the political impasse in these discussions to national and international attention – as well as the lack of political goodwill and the incapacity of the political and social actors to find a compromise.”
Archbishop Utembi said the bishops believed power-sharing negotiations, which followed a Church-brokered peace accord on 31st December, were now “in a state of failure.” He added that the politicians involved had failed to prioritise the nation or the people’s welfare.
Picture: Congolese Bishop Fidele Nsielele Zi Mputu, Archbishop Marcel Utembi Tapa and Bishop Fridolin Ambongo Besungu arrive in December 2016 to mediate talks between the opposition and the government of President Joseph Kabila in Kinshasa. (CNS photo/Thomas Mukoya, Reuters).